Sibling Rivalry, Sibling Revelry, Part 1

The above photo shows a rare loving moment shared between these three girls.  Not that love between them is rare, or that it’s rare to witness.  It’s just that the three of them all together, happy and calm, at a moment I happen to have my camera… that’s pretty rare.  Sibling dynamics are really interesting, and watching all three of these girls grow in relation to each other, react to each other, co-exist, compete, and care for each other, it’s really something cool to watch.  Not always easy to watch, or fun, but always worth watching.  And never boring.

Over the past 8 years, watching S and D’s relationship with each other become what it is today has been fascinating.  At times, frustrating.  Often entertaining.  Almost always intense.  Sometimes, heartwarming and touching and inspiring.  It’s brought us to tears of joy and of irritation, and it’s made us want to bang our heads into things.  Our perspective, as parents, is unique in that we get to see so much of what goes on between them and are so very invested in their social development and in our family harmony.  It’s also limited, in that we – no one, really – can ever exist inside that relationship of theirs, with all its intensity and love and hate, with its everydayness and constancy, its togetherness and monotony.  That’s something that’s just theirs.  It’s mysterious in that way.    But we get these glimpses into it.

Example:  Kane the other day, in trying to help the girls solve a conflict, suggested they try roh sham boh to decide things they couldn’t otherwise agree upon.  “No!” says Shaelyn.  “That’s no fair!  She always wins!”  Kane kind of laughed and shook his head, and then tried to explain that it was a game of chance, and that that wasn’t possible.  Davia said, “No, she’s right, I always win.”  Kane then had them play several rounds of the game for him, over and over, until finally he was convinced that, in fact, Davia does win that game (against Shaelyn) 4 out 5 times, on average.  We don’t know why that happens.  We can speculate, but it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that that is one tiny piece of a vast and complicated sibling dynamic between two very intense and vibrant little girls, living their lives as identical twins.

 

Davia, taken by Shaelyn with her new camera

 

Shaelyn, taken by Davia with her new camera

Ever watched identical twins argue about who looks better in a particular article of clothing?  Or try to insult one another by calling each other “ugly”?  It’s funny, of course, because they are in fact identical twins.  Most people who don’t see them regularly or know them very well have a hard time telling them apart.  But to them, those arguments and those insults make sense and are appropriate and meaningful.  I think that’s kind of a good metaphor for many of the other aspects of their relationship that don’t totally make sense when viewed from the outside.  To each of them, not only is the question of who looks better in that red shirt meaningful – it’s essential.  Whether by social pressure, parental shortcomings, nature or nurture or just the reality of How Things Are, theirs is a life of constant comparison.  Of neurotic and subconscious attention to detail, and of identities characterized primarily by subtle distinctions.  Distinctions that, to them, make a world of difference.  Their relationship is so unique and unlike any relationship I’ve ever witnessed.  There’s no doubt in my mind that it will continue to be both a source of joy and comfort, and also one of challenge, for those girls for as long as they both shall live.

That video obviously doesn’t show the girls (or our house) in the best light, but I think it helps illustrate what I’m talking about.  And though I wish I could say it was an unfair portrayal, it’s pretty typical.  I wish I also had a video showing the sweetness and mutual adoration these girls share.  They’re really very loving and protective of each other.  (When they’re not trying to kill each other.)

An example, on that (closing) note:  The other day, as I mentioned in a previous post, Shaelyn was terribly sick with that awful stomach thing that hit our house.  It was morning time, and both girls were to stay home from school that day.  Davia was on her way to recovery, but needed a little more time before going back to school.  Anyway, I was trying to help Shaelyn figure out where she wanted to be stationed for the morning, while I did my busy work around the house.  She, being very ill, needed a spot with a bowl and towels and a cup of water and pillows and all that.  I said, “If you want to watch TV, I’ll set you up downstairs on the couch, but if you want my company, I can set you up up here while I do my chores.”  Shaelyn didn’t really answer, but Davia chimed in lovingly to say, “Shaelyn, if you want me to be there, where ever you are, that’s where I will be.”  I think I cried a little when she said that.

So then, eight long years into the Shaelyn and Davia story, a new dimension is added to their sibling dynamic, in the form of a new baby sister.  Eila.

To be continued…

 

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The Art and Comedy of Shaelyn

We wanted to share a few pieces of artwork that Shaelyn’s been working on.  Really, these kids pump out dozens of artworks each day, and sadly, I’m sure many of them never get the spotlight they deserve.  Both girls love writing and drawing with a passion.  So these just represent a recent sampling that happened to make it onto my “desk” (read: pile of papers on the floor next to the chair where I feed Eila) at a time that I happened to be thinking about posting some big-girl art on our blog.  So here you have it, a garden of artwork (in oil pastel) by Shaelyn:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aren’t they lovely?  They look better in person, since we really need a scanner, and these are just photos of the drawings.  But I think you can see how awesome they are.

And we’ll end on a funny note.  Shaelyn has a very quick and creative sense of humor.  The following drawing illustrates that:

A Happy, Banged-Up Birthday

The past week has been more exciting than I have time to write about.  And by “exciting”, I mean many different things, and the vagueness is intentional.  Because it has been all those things.  Wonderful, terrifying, hectic, busy, fun, exhausting, etc.  Feel free to fill in your own adjectives based on the few details I’m about to provide.

So Thursday was Kate’s birthday, and it was lovely.  Presents were hidden around the house, to be found through out the day, wrapped in brown paper from grocery bags and adorned with beautiful art and loving messages.

from Davia

from Shaelyn

And the following are a few from Kane… I won’t post them all, but I will include photos of the moments he’s referring to.

from Kane

our wedding ceremony

And here’s one I wish I didn’t have a photo for, but I do…

from Kane

Kate has the sweetest family ever, and she was brought to happy tears more than once on this birthday.  Another happy thing about the day was that Kane ended up getting to take a half day off work.  The company he works for, which has always been great with stuff like this, sent him home to take care of his wife and to accompany her to the urgent care center.  You know, for the whiplash.

Oh, let me back up…

So Wednesday was a regular day (one that Kate likes to refer to as “the day before her birthday”, but really it was just Wednesday), so the big girls went to school, Kane went to work, and Kate and Eila did their thing at home.  That evening, Kate and all the little girls went to pick up Kane from work like usual.  Long story short, on the way home, we were rear-ended while stopped at a red light, producing a domino effect with the two cars in front of us and a whole bunch of screaming from the backseat.  Saddest thing I’ve heard in a long time was those three girls reacting to the crash.  Luckily, everyone is okay.  The injuries sustained were minor, and none of the kids were hurt at all.  Our car was totaled, but it was still drivable… so we made it home in time for what Kate likes to refer to as “Kate’s Birthday Eve”.  We celebrated the occasion with long phone conversations to our insurance company and some art therapy…

by Davia

by Shaelyn

Then the night came and went, and we’re back to Kate’s birthday!  A lovely day, as I mentioned.  Highlights included some phone calls from loved ones far away and, as I said, having Kane home with us for much of the day.

A good thing about getting in a car accident the day before your birthday, it turns out, is that you have lots of chances for strangers to notice that it’s your birthday.  You know, when you have to show your driver’s license to a police officer, tell your date of birth to an EMT, give your insurance representative a DOB of the policy holder, write it on the forms you fill out at the urgent care center, tell to the pharmacist when filling a prescription for your muscle relaxers, etc.  “Well, Happy Birthday to you!” they all say.  “Yes,” I would say, “So happy.”

But it was happy.  It ended on a less happy note, when late in the night, Davia came into our room to say she had thrown up.  Enter stomach bug.  How else to round off such an eventful holiday?  (Kate calls her birthday a holiday.)  So poor Davia spent Kate’s Birthday Boxing Day (Kane gave me that one) in a fetal position, getting up only to throw up.  And it was a doozy of a bug she had, lasted about three days.  She’s finally better now.  But, in true twin fashion, Shaelyn knocked on our bedroom door last night.  She had thrown up.  And has been doing so all morning.  So it goes.

Happy Monday to everyone!  Have a good week.  Wash your hands often, wear your seat belt, and enjoy the rest of your Kate’s-Birthday-Month.

Sunday Catch-Up, In Haiku

If you think you can

Save time on a blog post with

Haiku, you are wrong.

But here are some of

Our latest pictures with a

Haiku for each one.

Eila can wear jeans

Her sisters are at school now

They would not approve

I feel very loved

When they bring me home flowers

They just went for milk

How cute am I now?

She asks innocently while

Tugging on her bib.

 

 

She’s a bird on wheels

Flies so gracefully when free

Squawks when called inside

They say it always

Rains here but we enjoy so

Many sunny days

It may look cruel, but

Swaddled, her arms won’t flail and

Hit her in the face.

What’s this?  More flowers?

These people are the sweetest.

Or they want something.

Superbowl Sunday

We ate sushi while watching

Some men in tights lose

Art by Davia

In honor of MLK

But who’s the green guy?

When this kid smiles I

Feel like all the world smiles too.

Or at least I do.

Call me sensitive

But seeing this I feel I

Might not be welcome

I fear bears, monsters,

But it’s grumpy children I

Most need to keep out.

Though it’s not where I

Left her, I found the baby

In a box that day.

They brought me flowers

For the third time this week so

They must want something.

Kate and Eila are

Attached at the hip most days

Really, tied that way.

We love flowers so

Much so that we keep them long

After they should go.

Two peas in a pod

Helping with the laundry or

Just lying in it.

It’s funny when twins

Fight about who’s prettier.

They’re identical.

Kate found a way to

Carry Eila facing out

Eila sure is glad.

Who could be cuter

With spitty bubbles hanging

From her precious smile?

 

 

What a sad looking

Tree in the living room in

Mid-January

 

 


Eila seems concerned.

Maybe worried that her fist

Won’t fit in her mouth.